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#1834228 - 01/29/12 12:50 PM Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded?
Amaruk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 802
Loc: New England, USA
Mozart could play the piano blindfolded and with his hands crossed (!) at the age of five... Do you think that practicing your pieces blindfolded helps you in any way? I sometimes close my eyes when i play and that helps me "see" the music and it feels very rewarding. I wonder if some of you practice this way while preparing for performances?
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#1834239 - 01/29/12 01:09 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
I recall reading somewhere that Chopin would blindfold his students, once they had really learned the piece, in order for them to really listen and hear and understand the music.
_________________________

Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#1834240 - 01/29/12 01:09 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4791
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I don't see any reason to strive for playing blindly but I catch myself playing with my eyes closed or unfocused quite often. It allows me to listen better. Obviously I can't do this until the music is memorized. With me, playing with eyes closed or unfocused happens past the note learning stage and well into the "searching for expression" stage so I am listening extremely carefully and without realizing it, I close my eyes. There are always places that require me to see where I am. It's just something I do without thinking about it.
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Deborah

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#1834246 - 01/29/12 01:21 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
I have practiced with the lights off and eyes closed in order to better facilitate kinesthetic awareness. It's come in handy, too - while at a recital, there was a severe thunderstorm and the lights went off. I kept playing.

I ask my students to practice jumps or passages blindfolded as a way to build their confidence and raise their own kinesthetic awareness.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

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#1834256 - 01/29/12 01:33 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
My teacher loved to make us practice in her basement with the lights out. She would tell us a story (likely made up) about one of her students who had the power go out during her piano exam and the examiners made her play anyways.

But I agree with Minaku, it's a great way to learn keyboard geography, esp. for big leaps.

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#1834278 - 01/29/12 02:22 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Amaruk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 802
Loc: New England, USA
Thanks for your inputs!

Jolteon, that pretty much answers my question because Chopin sure knew what he was doing!

Deborah, yes, I too use it as a tool to improve/tweak pieces that I work on.

Minaku, I never thought of that benefit. Interesting!

LadyChen, that is too funny! I am sure the student passed the exam with flying colors!

I am just a happy amateur and just want to understand what methods you all use/teach as I find this forum's users to be extremely talented.



Edited by Amaruk (01/29/12 02:23 PM)
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#1834443 - 01/29/12 06:39 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it is helpful to know how the fingers work to find the next notes.
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1834461 - 01/29/12 07:23 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: gooddog]
moonfire628 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 56
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I don't see any reason to strive for playing blindly but I catch myself playing with my eyes closed or unfocused quite often. It allows me to listen better.


I find this about myself too. Once I really get to know the notes of the piece, I start playing with my eyes closed to listen to the piece and really catch the soul of it.

There's nothing wrong with playing blindfolded, in my opinion. In fact, I think everyone should do it from time to time. Playing isn't just about the technicalities of the piece, you need to feel the emotion behind it. I think playing without seeing the notes will help you not get distracted/
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Currently working on Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu and Final Fantasy songs ^_^

Music is the breath of my soul; without it I could not live.

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#1834493 - 01/29/12 08:05 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Yes, I believe in this....even with the simplest of sections....perhaps a measure...I ask my students to close their eyes....I don't know exactly how this works....but similar to reading outloud...it works!

rada

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#1834967 - 01/30/12 12:48 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
AldenH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas
I usually practice in half-light, so in anything short of a total blackout I feel confident that I could continue performing! It does help bring my focus to the sound of the music rather the visual aspect. I find it beneficial!

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#1835007 - 01/30/12 01:44 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
I've found that if I close my eyes I mess up but if I look at something like the TV right next to the piano I can sometimes play for quite a bit without looking at the piano at all.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1835112 - 01/30/12 04:06 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Yes, I have the story about Chopin and his students too. I myself am like gooddog. It sorts of happens, but it is not really a goal.
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Music is my best friend.


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#1835152 - 01/30/12 04:39 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
I'd say shutting your eyes whilst playing is a good practise technique for getting a good feel of intervals and leaps and what not. The more familiar you are with the keys the better.
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All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#1835615 - 01/31/12 09:21 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Ebadlun Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 47
It's excellent for skips and pieces where you need a lot a wide arm movements - I've made huge progress with the Debussy Etude in Octaves by shutting my eyes and making my hand find the notes by itself.

Although the first time I tried it it was hilariously bad - my neighbours must have wondered why I was letting that drunken chimpanzee play my piano.

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#1835654 - 01/31/12 10:50 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4959
I've never tried to play blindfold, but I've played in almost total darkness on several occasions, to avoid detection (don't ask...).

The experience taught me that I listen more carefully (like an out-of-body me) to myself - especially to the tonal nuances, the dynamic gradations etc - when I can't see the keyboard or my hands, and playing from memory. I then understood why many concert pianists often gaze at the sky or, in Artur Rubinstein's words, admire a fly on the ceiling, especially during passages of rapt concentration: it's not affectation, as I used to believe somewhat uncharitably.

I often gaze, without actually seeing, into the distance over the top of my piano when I play. Craning my neck to admire a fly on the ceiling is too uncomfortable (and in any case, my apartment is too clean to have flies.... grin).

I believe that the first performance of Franck's Violin Sonata (at least, the last three movements) was played in total darkness, and that performance is still talked about to this day, in hushed reverential tones.....

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#1835680 - 01/31/12 12:07 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 358
Loc: Western NC (US)
As a rehabilitating play-by-ear pianist, I am now going through a stage of overly slavish attention to the score! It takes longer to learn all those little markings, than to learn the notes! So when I practice, I am usually staring at the sheet music. Some things are more instinctive, like the f and p and dim and cresc and rit, but I still have to be reminded, staccato here, but not here; and emphasize this beat, but not that one. Just trying to correlate what I am looking at on the score, and what I am hearing. Definitely not yet to the express-myself-with-eyes-closed point on these pieces!

(I do practice with eyes closed when learning and getting the tactile, Braille-feeling of a passage into my fingers, but that's for a very specific purpose!)

Originally Posted By: bennevis
I've played in almost total darkness on several occasions, to avoid detection (don't ask)

But WHY?? wink

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#1835817 - 01/31/12 04:56 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Jolteon]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6102
Loc: St. Louis area
Once you learn a piece blindfolded, you can do it at parties for extra amazement. laugh
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#1836188 - 02/01/12 02:49 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
If I have a big jump or a particularly difficult passage, practicing with my eyes shut really helps me learn the passage. It gives me a better feel for the piano.

When I perform, I often close my eyes without realizing it. When I really am concentrating hard and focusing, my eyes just simply shut. I can't control it.

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#1836207 - 02/01/12 04:08 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Yeah. I just close me eyes real tight and hope for the best.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1836239 - 02/01/12 05:42 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: cefinow]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4959
Originally Posted By: cefinow
,
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I've played in almost total darkness on several occasions, to avoid detection (don't ask)

But WHY?? wink


Well, if you really want to know.....I didn't have my own piano to play on from when I left university until 2 years ago, so I had to practise on any old (or new) piano I came across. Which included those in churches, public halls etc. So, to avoid the attention of the authorities in the dead of night....(not that I was actually doing anything illegal grin).

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#1836261 - 02/01/12 06:28 AM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
For many players music is a visual form. They have their eyes glued to the music and occasionally look down at their hands.

By eliminating one sense, the sense of vision, you might hope that the player would listen more to what they are playing which could have a more positive impact on the listener.

When I listen to recordings of myself I hear more flaws than when I was actually playing.

Bottom line, it couldn't hurt and could produce a more positive result.
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#1837487 - 02/02/12 09:49 PM Re: Is there merit in practicing pieces blindfolded? [Re: Amaruk]
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
When I learnt Liszt transcendental étude paysage my teacher made me shut my eyes while I played it or even when I practiced. Reason being that there were these passages of music which started going to fast there was no way your eyes could keep up with it as well as these cross handed parts towards the end.... Not just that but it helped to spark imagination, it helped me play without getting anxious and I could really feel the music.

Did that for other pieces as well
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Currently working on:J.S Bach Prelude&Fugue in C major from bk 1,Chopin Etude op.10 no.12,Impromptus nos.1&4 and Mendelssohn Song without words op.67

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